Dussehra Festival effigies light up Calton Hill

Burning effigies during Dusherra celebrations on Calton Hill. Picture: Alex Hewitt
Burning effigies during Dusherra celebrations on Calton Hill. Picture: Alex Hewitt
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THOUSANDS of people braved the chill for the Capital’s 20th Dussehra Festival at Calton Hill last night.

The rain held off as bagpipes and fiddle performers of the Scott Wood Band gave this year’s celebrations a mixed Scottish and Indian feel.

Lady Sita played by Saloni Sonawala is protected by Rama (Blue) played by Nirav Mehta and his brother Laxman (Red) played by Puneet Dwivedi. Picture: Alex Hewitt

Lady Sita played by Saloni Sonawala is protected by Rama (Blue) played by Nirav Mehta and his brother Laxman (Red) played by Puneet Dwivedi. Picture: Alex Hewitt

Symbolic 25ft effigies of the demons Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghnad were set alight on top of the hill to commemorate the victory of good over evil.

It was the climax of a day full of activities celebrating Dussehra, which finished with a spectacular fireworks display against the backdrop of the Edinburgh cityscape.

Fetival-goers were treated to Indian classical dancers from the Bhartiya Ashram ­centre in Dundee, tribal belly dancing group Twisted Tails, flamenco performances by Alba Flamenca and the Bollywood band Swaryatra.

Children enjoyed arts and crafts workshops by Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, designed to help them understand different cultures, in a dedicated marquee, another addition to the festival.

Dusherra celebrations on Calton Hill in Edinburgh Picture: Alex Hewitt

Dusherra celebrations on Calton Hill in Edinburgh Picture: Alex Hewitt

Twenty years ago the festivities started out as a simple parade through the city streets but has grown in size since its humble roots.

It is one of the largest free independent festivals in Scotland.

The monkey army of (clockwise from top) Krish (8), Rohan (7), Bhargav (6) and Arnav (7). Picture: Alex Hewitt

The monkey army of (clockwise from top) Krish (8), Rohan (7), Bhargav (6) and Arnav (7). Picture: Alex Hewitt

Ravana, played by Thiru Varathan, is accosted by the monkey army. Picture: Alex Hewitt

Ravana, played by Thiru Varathan, is accosted by the monkey army. Picture: Alex Hewitt